WGA announces screenplay nominees

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Feb. 7, 2002 at 2:54 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Most of the front-runners made the final cut Thursday, but two heavily favored screenplays were left off the list, as the Writers Guild of America announced nominations for its top awards for outstanding screenwriting in 2001.

"Memento" and "In the Bedroom" -- two of the most highly decorated screenplays of the year -- were not eligible for the WGA awards because the writers were not members of the guild when the movies were made, and the productions were not WGA signatories.

The screenplays are eligible for Academy Awards, but their Oscar chances appear to have been damaged by their failure to qualify for the WGA honors. Over the past seven years, only one screenplay -- "The Usual Suspects" (1995) -- has picked up an Oscar without also earning at least a WGA nomination.

This year's nominees for best screenplay written directly for the screen are: "Gosford Park," Julian Fellowes; "The Man Who Wasn't There," Joel Coen & Ethan Coen; "Monster's Ball," Milo Addica & Will Rokos; "Moulin Rouge," Baz Luhrmann & Craig Pearce; and "The Royal Tenenbaums," Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson.

The Coen brothers won the DGA Award for best original screenplay in 1996 for "Fargo."

This year's nominees for best screenplay based on material previously produced or published are: "A Beautiful Mind," Akiva Goldsman, based on the book by Sylvia Nasar; "Black Hawk Down," Ken Nolan, based on the book by Mark Bowden; "Bridget Jones's Diary," Helen Fielding and Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis, based on the novel by Helen Fielding; "Ghost World, Daniel Clowes & Terry Zwigoff, based on the comic book by Daniel Clowes; and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson, based on the book "The Fellowship of the Ring" by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Goldsman won a Golden Globe and a USC Scripter Award for "A Beautiful Mind." His screenplay is nominated for best adapted screenplay by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

"Bridget Jones's Diary" was nominated for a Scripter Award and is up for a BAFTA. The New York Film Critics Circle gave its screenplay award to "Gosford Park," which was also nominated for a Golden Globe and is up for a BAFTA.

"Memento" writer-director Christopher Nolan has won top screenplay honors from the American Film Institute, the National Board of Review, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Las Vegas Film Critics Society. The screenplay was also nominated for a Golden Globe and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Award.

"In the Bedroom" -- co-written by Rob Festinger and director Todd Field -- was nominated for the AFI award and was a finalist for the USC Scripter Award, presented each year to recognize the best screen adaptation of a previously published word.

The WGA announced the nominations for TV and radio writing on Jan. 16.

PBS led the field with nine nominations. CBS and HBO had eight nominations each. NBC had seven and ABC had five.

Eight of PBS' nominations came for documentary programs, as the public TV network swept both documentary categories, "current events" and "other than current events." The "Frontline" public affairs series received three nominations -- for "Drug Wars," parts 1 and 2, and "Medicating Kids."

HBO took three of the four nominations in the original long form category -- for "Conspiracy," "For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story" and "61*." The other nomination went to Showtime's "Varian's War."

In the adapted long form category, ABC was nominated for "Anne Frank" and "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows." TNT was nominated for "Baby" and "The Mists of Avalon." The remaining nomination went to PBS for "The Song of the Lark."

HBO's "The Sopranos" took three of the five nominations in the episodic drama category, for episodes entitled "Employee of the Month," "Pine Barrens" and "Proshai, Livushka." NBC's "The West Wing" was nominated for episodes entitled "Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail" and "Two Cathedrals." A sixth nomination went to the CBS series, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," for the episode entitled "Blood Drops."

"The West Wing" won the WGA award for episodic drama last year.

Fox's comedy, "Malcolm in the Middle," was nominated twice in the episodic comedy category, for episodes entitled "Bowling" and "Grandparents." The Fox series, "Titus," picked up a nomination for an episode called "The Pendulum."

HBO's "Sex in the City" received two nominations, for episodes entitled "Just Say Yes" and "My Motherboard, My Self." A sixth nomination went to the CBS Monday night hit, "Everybody Loves Raymond" for the two-part episode, "Italy."

Last year's winner, NBC's "Frasier," was not nominated this year.

"The Kennedy Center Honors" (CBS) and "Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash 2000" (NBC) were nominated in the music, awards, tributes and specials comedy-variety category. "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (NBC), "Late Show with David Letterman" (CBS), "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" (ABC) and "Saturday Night Live" (NBC) were nominated in the comedy-variety series category.

The nominees for daytime serial are "All My Children" (ABC), "Days of Our Lives" (NBC), "The Guiding Light" (CBS) and "The Young and the Restless" (NBC).

The WGA will also honor veteran producer-director-writer Blake Edwards with its Screen Laurel Award, in recognition of a career in which he turned out such hits as "Victor/Victoria," "10," "Experiment in Terror" and the Pink Panther movies.

Edwards has been nominated for seven WGA Awards. He won for "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" (1976) and "Victor/Victoria" (1981) -- starring his wife, Julie Andrews -- which was also nominated for an Oscar for best adapted screenplay.

In 1993, Edwards became only the third recipient of the Preston Sturges Award -- one of the most prestigious honors given by the WGA. The others are Richard Brooks and Billy Wilder.

The 54th Annual WGA Awards will be presented on March 2 in simultaneous ceremonies in Beverly Hills, Calif. and New York.

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